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White Balance
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   Author  Topic: White Balance  (Read 203 times)
CHESSIEMIKE
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White Balance
  GMS2_Auto_small.jpg - 148743 Bytes
« on: Nov 5th, 2011, 6:45pm »
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How many set the White Balance on their digital cameras? I tend to leave mine in "auto" unless I have time to set it. Here are a few shots to show the difference.  
 
Exhibit "A": I heard something call "W001-01" on my scanner so I decided to see if I could find it. Getting track side I find CSX's GMS-2 coming to a stop at Toppings so I snap a shot. WB was on "Auto" other settings were manual: ISO 200, f.5.6@1/100sec.
CHESSIEMIKE


http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/Photo/GMS2_Auto_small.jpg
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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: White Balance
  GMS2_Shade_Small.jpg - 160902 Bytes
« Reply #1 on: Nov 5th, 2011, 6:51pm »
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Now I have a shot, but I also know I have more time. There is a fair amount of cloud cover so I change my WB to "Shade". All other settings were the same. The colors in this version are a lot closer to correct.
CHESSIEMIKE


http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/Photo/GMS2_Shade_Small.jpg
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photoman475
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Re: White Balance
 
« Reply #2 on: Nov 6th, 2011, 4:56pm »
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Chessie Mike:
 
You are right to go and change the white balance to match the shooting conditions.  What you are doing is telling the camera to adjust to the ambient lighting to try and reach the "magic" 18% gray card figure light meters are optimized for.
 
If time allows, not only will I change white balance, I will also and change the film speed/ISO setting and flash control.  If I know ahead of time-a rare situation but it does happen once in while-how I will be using the printed image, I will also adjust the pixel count and JPEG or RAW settings as needed.
 
I spend eight hours a day or more at work in front of a computer.  If there is something I can do ahead of time with the camera before taking the photo to reduce computer time later, I am all in favor of that.
 
I figure auto settings are great for grab shots, but my film habits die hard.  Why not just plan ahead, wherever possible, for a better photo instead of settling for just good enough?  The key is plan ahead, since it's not always possible to do that with railroad photography.
 
Have a good one!
 
Alan


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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: White Balance
  CSX_GMS-2_at_Toppings_small2.jpg - 248107 Bytes
« Reply #3 on: Nov 7th, 2011, 6:44am »
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Yes, plan ahead. This day had very fast changing conditions, the clouds were rolling with the sun coming and going. During the chase I had the camera set to handle the changing conditions because I had no idea what light I would have when I got a shot. As it turns out the cloud cover was fortuitous because without it the front of the unit would have been in its own shadow with backlight. The GMS-2 was waiting on an eastbound coal train which came by under the same lighting conditions, but by the time he was by the sun was out a bit more. After changing the camera settings, WB to Sun,  ISO 200, 1/500 sec. @ f8, I got this.
CHESSIEMIKE


http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/Photo/CSX_GMS-2_at_Toppings_small2.jpg
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« Last Edit: Nov 7th, 2011, 6:48am by CHESSIEMIKE » Logged


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photoman475
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Re: White Balance
 
« Reply #4 on: Nov 7th, 2011, 7:39pm »
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And that is a nice shot!  I like the "scenic element" that tells us time has passed.  To me, that makes the shot!

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ranger101
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Re: White Balance
 
« Reply #5 on: Jan 8th, 2012, 7:00pm »
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HI all,
     Chessie, nice shot!  I have a question too.  I have been changing the WB as time and conditions allow.  I love the results I get.  My question is about ISO.  I have been using 400 ISO setting on my DSLR, Sony A-350.  When I shot film I would use 400 film because it was billed as multi-purpose and good in all conditions.  Is the same true of ISO for digital too.  When I get some more sunny days at the tracks I'll try adjusting the ISO along with the WB.  My WB adjustments on my Sony are Sun, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Flash.  I got the camera a few years ago, but have been a little reluctant to use it as it can be intimidating compared to the old Minoltas I used before.


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RobR
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Re: White Balance
 
« Reply #6 on: Jan 8th, 2012, 7:16pm »
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This seems to be argument in favor of using the RAW setting of your camera, if it has one.  The white balance can be adjusted in the raw photograph before it gets into PhotoShop (or whatever it is you use).
 
RobR


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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: White Balance
 
« Reply #7 on: Jan 8th, 2012, 9:16pm »
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on Jan 8th, 2012, 7:00pm, ranger101 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
HI all,
     Chessie, nice shot!  I have a question too.  I have been changing the WB as time and conditions allow.  I love the results I get.  My question is about ISO.  I have been using 400 ISO setting on my DSLR, Sony A-350.  When I shot film I would use 400 film because it was billed as multi-purpose and good in all conditions.  Is the same true of ISO for digital too.  When I get some more sunny days at the tracks I'll try adjusting the ISO along with the WB.  My WB adjustments on my Sony are Sun, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Flash.  I got the camera a few years ago, but have been a little reluctant to use it as it can be intimidating compared to the old Minoltas I used before.
Thanks Ranger101. Before I went digital my film of choice was K64. The low end of ISO on my camera is 200, so I have had to get use to a little more speed. My camera does have 3 settings below 200, but these are not in the "normal ISO range" for my camera. From my experience, the "grain" level seems to change just like film. The higher the ISO the more grain you get. If you get a chance to play, shoot the same photo under several different ISO settings (making proper exposure adjustments) and compare the result. Try with a high quality setting (ie, large file) and look at the big picture. If you are happy with the 400 setting, then continue on. If you see a difference that you like then be governed accordingly. I try to use as low an ISO as I can because I like to minimize the grain in my shots. I don't hesitate to raise the ISO if I need to. I try to keep above f5.6 unless I want to minimize my depth of field.
CHESSIEMIKE
 


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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: White Balance
 
« Reply #8 on: Jan 8th, 2012, 9:25pm »
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on Jan 8th, 2012, 7:16pm, RobR wrote:       (Click here for original message)
This seems to be argument in favor of using the RAW setting of your camera, if it has one.  The white balance can be adjusted in the raw photograph before it gets into PhotoShop (or whatever it is you use).
 
RobR
I concur RobR. Call me crazy, but I shoot a combination of RAW and JPEG. The RAW file gives me the most image information to deal with for editing. The JPEG file gives me something that is quick and easy to do some minor tweaks if needed. I try to get all the settings right before I hit the shutter. That tends to minimize the amount of time I have to spend “processing” the shot later.
CHESSIEMIKE


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CandF
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Re: White Balance
 
« Reply #9 on: Jan 27th, 2012, 3:11pm »
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I started to notice that multiple shots of the same train at the same location showed different variations in color.  Why?  Because I had my white balance in auto.  I've personally found that when lighting condiitons are predictable, it is far better to change to the appropriate white balance.
 
If you want to have some fun with white balance, while taking night shots using available lighting, take different pictures using different white balance settings.  You will be surprised and just how many different color variations that you get, some really good, and some really bad!


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photoman475
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Re: White Balance
 
« Reply #10 on: Feb 6th, 2012, 8:11pm »
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Chessie Mike:
 
You are correct when you said the grain level changes with the ISO in digital.  This is an instance where film and digital results will be virtually the same; the faster the ISO, the more grain you will see.  In digital terms, white noise is sometimes used in place of grain.
 
It seems from my experience with digital, that the comparable film grain vs. digital grain can be rather pronounced.  Film still seems to have less grain for the same ISO (or ASA) compared to digital.  Any comments on that from your experience?
 
Alan


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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: White Balance
 
« Reply #11 on: Feb 8th, 2012, 6:28am »
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on Feb 6th, 2012, 8:11pm, photoman475 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
It seems from my experience with digital, that the comparable film grain vs. digital grain can be rather pronounced.  Film still seems to have less grain for the same ISO (or ASA) compared to digital.  Any comments on that from your experience?
I would tend to concur with that statement. I seldom shot much above 400ASA during my film days. I did carry a roll of 1600ASA with me, but I never shot it. That was to force a manual check of my camera gear so my other film would never go through security x-ray. But that is a different topic. I wonder if we notice the grain more because it is so easy to jump to a higher ISO with digital than it is to change out a roll of film. Hmm. Also, the content of the photo can sometimes "hide" the grain. During my time of shooting film there were improvements in grain. I seem to remember ads highlighting the improvements in the amount of grain on some higher speed films. It may have my eyesight getting worse with age, but I think they were right.
CHESSIEMIKE


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